Edmund Curll, Bookseller by Paul Baines

By Paul Baines

Edmund Curll was once a infamous determine one of the publishers of the early eighteenth century: for his boldness, his loss of scruple, his booklet of labor with out author's consent, and his flavor for erotic and scandalous guides. He used to be in felony hassle on a number of events for piracy and copyright infringement, unauthorized booklet of the works of fellow workers, and for seditious, blasphemous, and obscene guides. He stood within the pillory in 1728 for seditious libel. specifically, he was once the consistent objective of the best poet and satirist of his age, Alexander Pope, whose paintings he pirated every time he might and who spoke back with direct actual revenge (an emetic slipped right into a drink) and chronic malign comic strip. The struggle among Pope and Curll typifies a number of the major cultural battles being waged among creativity and company. the tale has quite often been advised from the poet's standpoint, notwithstanding extra lately Curll has been celebrated as one of those literary freedom-fighter; this e-book, the 1st complete biography of Curll when you consider that Ralph Straus's The Unspeakable Curll (1927), seeks to offer a balanced and thoroughly-researched account of Curll's profession in publishing among 1706 and 1747, untangling the error and misrepresentations that experience accumulated through the years and restoring a transparent experience of viewpoint to Curll's dealings within the literary industry. It examines the total variety of Curll's output, together with his outstanding antiquarian sequence, and makes use of broad archive fabric to element Curll's criminal and different problems. For the 1st time, what's recognized approximately this unusual, attention-grabbing, and awkward determine is authoritatively advised.

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Curll tried to give this somewhat miscellaneous assortment a marketable identity: prospective customers were advised that the un-named collector has not only made Choice of the most Valuable Authors themselves in their own Original Language, but most if not all the different Translations that have been made of them, a Curiosity which has never yet appear’d in any Public Catalogue, and therefore I hope it will be gratefully Received by all Lovers of Learning. A second, smaller auction followed on 31 January at the Temple Coffee-House, Devereux Court off the Strand, which Curll announced as Bibliotheca Legalis .

Surgeon’, and then by ‘W. Warren, Surgeon’, by implication an attempt to hook itself to the name of G. Warren, an actual practitioner. The end result was a resounding defeat for Curll’s reputation: he would deal no more in such wares, and most of his future medical publications were considerably more respectable. Spinke’s last words on the matter deserve quotation: We have in and about this Town many poor Schollars who are willing to scribble any Thing that either a Printer or Bookseller will pay them for; and I suspect that this Tract was compos’d by some such Person, and publish’d by him that purchas’d the Copy, purely with a Design to get Money by the Sale of the Book.

Spinke was dancing on the grave, but he also took a surprising amount of trouble to work out the bibliographical shenanigans behind A New Method of Curing, without Internal Medicines, that Degree of the Veneral Disease, called a Gonorrhea, or Clap, which he says was first advertised by Curll, then readvertised as ‘sold by Mr. Woodward . . and 38 In Business (1707–1710) Mr. Baker . . to whom, upon Enquiry, I was inform’d E. Curll convey’d them’. It was also published over the imprint of John Isted, witness to Curll’s marriage licence who had published some of Marten’s earlier work.

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